The UK has now – after several delays – exited the EU. But with many manners yet to be resolved there are still several key dates to come.
Here are some of the key dates when decisions will be made and we find out more.
The new European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and the EU's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier. Photo: AFP
January 31st, 2020 – Brexit Day. The UK exits and a transition period begins, which currently runs until December 31st, 2020. All UK citizens who do not have dual nationality lose their EU citizenship on this day and will also lose the right to vote or stand for office in EU countries.
In terms of citizens' rights, however, most other things stay the same during the transition period, including the right to live and work in France, so people already living here can stay and British people can move here on the same terms as before. To exercise this right, you must be legally resident in France, which is not the same as simply being in the country – find out more about legal residence requirements here.
March 1st – Talks start on the “future relationship” the main part of which will be about trade relations. This is the date the EU is aiming to have its negotiating mandate agreed, which will give the European Commission the legal authorisation to formally open talks.
June 30th – the deadline for any extension to the transition period to be agreed between the UK and the EU. The transition period can only be extended up to a maximum of two years, so until December 31st 2022 at the absolute latest.
November 26th – this is the date that EU experts say a trade deal will need to be actually agreed by, in order to leave time for it to be formally presented to the European Parliament and ratified in time for the December 31st deadline.
December 31st – the end of the transition period (unless it's extended).
The transition period was originally envisioned as a two-year period in which the EU and UK could negotiate future trade and other agreements, however repeated Brexit delays mean it is now just 11 months. Trade experts say it will be very difficult to get agreements completed within this timeframe, but British PM Boris Johnson is adamant that he will not ask for an extension (although it's worth pointing out that he also said this about the October 2019 Brexit deadline).
January 1st, 2021 – if the transition period is not extended, the UK will then begin its new relationship with the EU, either crashing out without a trade deal or beginning the new trading relationship agreed during the transition period.
Even if there is no trade deal, the Withdrawal Agreement and its protections for citizens' rights will stand as a treaty.
Among the things that the Withdrawal Agreement covers are rights to healthcare, pension uprating and entitlement to benefits, but things that still need to be worked out during the transition period are the rights for people wanting to move after the end of the transition period, how long people who are not legally resident in the EU (for example second home owners) can stay and the right to be joined by a future spouse or partner.
July 31st, 2021 – the deadline for residency applications.
During the transition period, British people are free to continue to live and work in the EU under the same terms as before. However once the transition period is over, they will need a residency permit, in the same way that other non EU nationalities such as Americans and Australians do. All applications must be made within six months of the end of the transition period. If there is no extension to the transition period, this deadline would fall on July 31st, 2021.